Have you ever heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” I know it’s not proper English, but it makes a valid point. Point being, journalism has learned these lessons already. Before the internet, before blogging, before citizen journalism, the industry had it right. Anonymity does not work, except in certain circumstances. The public understands this and accepts it, willingly.
Now, with the changes happening in the industry there is a concerted effort to allow the so-called citizen journalist to occupy a legitimate perch in the quest to bring readers the news. Along with the efforts to accept the legitimacy of this new resource, the industry is struggling with the question of whether or not anonymity should become the standard for those who want to give their opinion, yet continue to remain anonymous.
Anyone who comments, blogs, or wishes to offer up their opinion, point of view, or first-hand account must weigh that desire against the importance of establishing the accuracy and legitimacy of the information they report.
Important thoughts and opinions will always find their way into the public forum without request for anonymity from those who may or may not have a personal axe to grind. Or those who simply want to offer an opinion based on racist, sexist, or other destructive beliefs.